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You play a key role in your own health. Before surgery, it is important to reduce the number of germs on your skin. In addition to the information included in the “How to Prevent Surgical Site Infections” pamphlet, the instructions below are provided to help you carefully wash your skin before your surgery.

Use Safeguard soap and a special soap called chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). A common name for this soap is Hibiclens®, but any brand of 4% CHG is okay to use. Do the preoperative bath/shower, one time a day, for 4 days before surgery and then take your last bath/shower the day of your surgery, before coming to the hospital. If you have any questions, please call your doctor.


Before your surgery:

Health problems such as allergies, diabetes, and obesity could affect your surgery and your treatment. Tell your doctor about all medical problems you may have.

Quit smoking. According to CDC, patients who smoke are at greater risk for infections.

Do not shave near area you will have surgery. Shaving with a razor can make small openings in your skin and make it easier to develop an infection.Use Safeguard soap and Hibiclens soap (which can be found at your local drug store) from your neck down when bathing or showering for 4-5 days before your surgery. Leave Safeguard soap on for one minute then rinse off. Then lather with Hibiclens soap. Leave on for one minute and then rinse. You may use a clean back brush, if needed. Use a clean washcloth each day. *Do NOT use Hibiclens on your face or genital areas.

Make sure you have clean sheets on your bed for when you return home.

It is important to quit smoking prior to any surgery. Smoking can slow healing and cause complications. Find out more: The Delaware Quitline: Help for Adults Who Want To Quit Smoking


  • Shower or bathe
  • Follow any special bathing instructions that your doctor provided
  • Brush your teeth
  • Follow any special medication instructions
  • Get a good night’s rest


  • Shower or bathe
  • Brush your teeth
  • Wear clean, loose and comfortable clothing
  • Remove all jewelry/piercings & leave at home
  • Do not wear makeup or lotion
  • Wear glasses—do not wear contacts
  • Be prepared to tell the nurse the dose and time you took the last dose of each medication.


  • Write down any questions or concerns you have and take the list with you to your doctor’s appointment.
  • Plan to have a family member or friend come with you to the hospital .
  • Check with your doctor if there are prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal medications you should not take before surgery.
  • Bring medications (in the original prescription container) you are currently taking with you to the hospital.

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